A suicide bomber in Afghanistan attacked on Wednesday in the country’s eastern city of Jalalabad, an official said, killing 16 employees of an Afghan company.
The attacker, who was on foot, detonated his explosives near the office of a construction company near the city’s airport, said Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesperson for the governor of Nangarhar province, of which Jalalabad is the capital.
As well as the 16 dead at the company, including several of its guards, five attackers were killed – the two bombers and three gunmen, he said, adding a clearance operation was still ongoing.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
The bombings come as US and Taliban negotiations continue to hold ongoing peace talks in Qatar aimed at ending the nearly 18-year conflict.
Despite a two-day break before the weekend, negotiations continue on “a daily basis right now and progress is being made”, US State Department spokesman Robert Palladino told journalists on Tuesday.
“These discussions are ongoing and what we’re focusing on are the four interconnected issues that are going to compose any future agreement,” Palladino said – listing them as terrorism, troop withdrawal, intra-Afghan dialogue and ceasefire.
The continuation of the talks follows a major attack on a joint US-Afghan base in southwestern Afghanistan’s Helmand province last week, with at least 23 security forces killed in the hours-long assault on one of the largest military installations in the country.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly voiced his eagerness to end America’s involvement in Afghanistan, where 14,000 US troops are still deployed.
Afghanistan has been enmeshed in nearly constant conflict since the Soviet invasion of 1979, which was followed by civil war, the Taliban rule, and the US invasion in late 2001.